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Effects Of Cannabis On Athletic Performance You Must Know

The effects of cannabis on athletic performance include pain alleviation, reduced inflammation, and even an increase in concentration. Read more about these effects!

Marijuana is gaining so much popularity these days.  Also known as Cannabis, it has significantly been used for medical and recreational purposes, especially when the good effects of cannabis on athletic performance were introduced. 

Medical practitioners used cannabis for pain treatment, nausea, and post-traumatic stress, while some people use it in their everyday lives to relieve anxiety, insomnia, and even chronic pain. 

Athletes and fitness experts also started using topicals and tinctures to help them alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and even increase concentration. 

An Overview Of Cannabis

Cannabis contains more than 540 chemical substances in which at least 120 active ingredients or cannabinoids compounds directly act on our neurotransmitter endocannabinoid system. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most abundant ones. The effects of cannabis on athletic performance are still being discussed by sports bodies, athletes, and scientists.

More athletes use cannabis as an alternative to painkillers because it has analgesic properties. Besides, endocannabinoids help regulate one’s appetite, emotions, and even memory. Athletes prefer to use products with CBD to relieve pain and aid recovery.

On the other hand, some athletes rely on products that have high THC, so that level of concentration and performance also increases.

Some cannabinoids can have euphoric or psychoactive effects. THC produces both effects.

Legal Use Of Cannabis

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has allowed the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. In 2018, WADA removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances and even raised the allowed amount of THC  found in athlete’s drug tests before dismissal.

There are still some major sports leagues and athletic organizations that still prohibit THC’s use with the recent exemption of Major League Baseball (MLB).

According to studies, THC affects the brain that controls balance, posture, coordination, attention, memory, and reaction time.

Research among National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes showed  61 percent of the respondents use cannabis for social or recreational purposes. In comparison, only 0.06 percent responded they use cannabis to enhance their performance.

Most recent works showed the effects of cannabis on performance or safety for recreational use rather than medical use. Several studies have already been published showing the effects of cannabis on athletic performance where athletes’ performance level increases.

Canada’s Cannabis Act allows more research to be conducted so that the effects of cannabis on athletic performance can be adequately verified. There should also be more studies on the impact of oral consumption of cannabis, such as CBD oils or energy balls. These are also called cannabis edibles or drinkables.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already determined that THC or CBD products cannot be sold legally as dietary supplements. Still, some states allow legal use depending on the state’s laws and regulations.

3 Things You Should Know Before Taking It 

The effects of cannabis on athletic performance is still in the testing phase. If it works for him, it might not work for you. The endocannabinoid system is complicated, and it requires more research. Do not assume that medical marijuana is already perfect and can boost your motivation and athletic performance.

Cannabis And Marijuana

Cannabis has different types, and marijuana are not all the same. There are a variety of different blends and how they were manufactured. There are also several ways to consume it to get the good effects of cannabis in athletic performance. It is usually used for smoking or vaping the substance, but the marijuana medical community thought of another way to consume it, which is by eating. These are also called cannabis edibles or drinkables (CBD coffees and pre-workout drinks). Other ways to consume cannabis are through tinctures, capsules, and muscle balms.

Side effects of marijuana use include altered senses, difficulty thinking, impaired memory, and mood changes. It would be best to take responsibility if consuming cannabis. The effects of cannabis in athletic performance are tremendous, but it may lead to delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis in high doses. 

Is Cannabis Bad for Athletes?

There are several effects of cannabis on athletic performance in both training and competition. 

Cannabis reduces inflammation. Studies showed that CBD helps in reducing muscle pain and joint inflammation. Some use topicals like a balm, bath salts, lotions, or a transdermal patch that will you can just apply to the affected area of the skin, joints, and muscles for relief. Topicals do not produce a psychoactive effect when used. On the other hand, tinctures are concentrated liquid preparations that are meant to be applied either topically or orally. 

A certified yoga instructor and founder of Ganja Guru Yoga in Denver incorporated marijuana in his practice and endorsed it to his clients. He said that the effects of cannabis on athletic performance using both topical and tinctures are “incredible for locally targeted recovery in highly concentrated doses.” 

Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, research also showed cannabis could alleviate pain (whether chronic or acute pain) and soreness. Cannabis can help with muscle recovery and relieve pain from injuries. 

Zach Scioli of DIAKADI Fitness San Francisco is an advocate for marijuana therapies. He used CBD oil and high-grade THC extracts to manage pain and inflammation when he was bedridden due to a slipped disc in his lower back. 

Study research published in Nature Medicine showed that cannabis helped fitness experts focus more. It cited that “cannabis acted as a catalyst to achieve a meditative ‘flow state’ that is crucial to success in athletics.” 

Although there are proven good effects of cannabis on athletic performance, there are also some risks like lung problems if you smoke it. All athletes know that healthy lungs are essential to overall fitness; that is why topicals and tinctures are the usual practice.

According to some experts, the use of cannabis can also impede decision making and motor coordination. Jeff Chen, M.D., M.B.A., the director of the Cannabis Research Initiative at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, says, “it can make certain activities more difficult, such as driving.”

Marijuana can also affect one’s heart, causing you to have an attack within one hour of consuming it, so it is essential to consult a doctor before using cannabis as a fitness partner.

Why People Use Cannabis 

Cannabis has been widely used since back 1000 B.C. for medical and social purposes. 

There are some cases in Colorado and Oregon, where medical practitioners used cannabis for pain treatment, nausea, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

Some people usually use cannabis as part of their lives because it helps them relieve anxiety, insomnia, and even chronic pain. THC has been known to induce sleep, but more studies show that it could also help people who suffer from sleep apnea.  

According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the younger generation uses marijuana to feel good and ease boredom. It helps them relieve tension or frustration, and they use it to have an escape in reality.


Cannabis has been used for social activities and medical reasons. It greatly helps people from having sleep problems with chronic diseases. Cannabis has also been introduced to sports to help athletes alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and increase concentration, whether just in training or in competitions.

The effects of cannabis on athletic performance are still being studied, but it is already making a significant impact on athletes and sports enthusiasts. There are also some risks, so moderate consumption of cannabis is still being encouraged, and seeing a doctor is recommended before trying any THC or CBD-based products.



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